Three Tailoring Classes at Craftsy

I have a peacoat project, to be based on Vogue 8940, that’s been simmering in the background for a while now.


The project hasn’t yet made it past the pre-planning stage, but I have been slowly putting pieces in place. Earlier this year, I picked up a remnant of black Melton wool from Britex Fabrics.


Also from Britex, I’ve picked out some beautiful silver lining fabric, and some buttons. This past week, I purchased some hair canvas interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, which may also find its way into the project.

But aside from supplies, I’m missing another important piece: tailoring skills. I’ve never produced any sort of tailored garment before, so I want to learn more about what tailoring is, and what’s involved in producing a tailored garment.

As a self-taught sewist, I learn from all sorts of places, including books, magazines, TV shows, YouTube, and internet classes. I especially like video-based instruction since you can actually see the techniques demonstrated, rather than try to interpret a textual description from a book, or fill in the missing details from a photo.


I enjoy the sewing classes from Craftsy. Their courses have high production values. The user experience is pleasant; it’s available in your browser or on mobile devices (iOS or Android), it’s easy to navigate the lessons, you can repeat sections, take notes, and ask the instructors questions.

Craftsy has several video courses that cover introductory tailoring in some form or another. I’ve purchased and watched three of them. I recommend each of these courses, but each has its own focus and strengths, and which one you pick depends upon what you’re looking for.

I’ve learned there’s two different approaches to tailoring.  The “classic” approach involves lots of careful hand-sewing, including hand-stitching layers of canvas and interfacing to shape the fabric but still give it movement.  The “modern” approach uses fusible interfacing in place of canvas and hand stitching in order to mimic the classic approach to shaping with less work and time. Both approaches are represented in these classes.

Finally, it’s worth noting that all three classes assume you already know how to fit, and have a fitted pattern ready to be constructed. Steffani Lincecum is up-front about that, and she directs you to other Craftsy courses if you need help on the topic. Pam Howard offers a companion class on jacket fitting,

 The Carefree Fly-Front Coat with Kenneth D. King

Kenneth D. King_Craftsy

The Carefree Fly-Front Coat, with Kenneth D. King, is a good introduction to the concepts of tailoring.  The class garment – a partially-lined, semi-structured coat with a fly-front facing – is streamlined in terms of tailoring principles, yet it has some interesting challenge details such as the fly-front, on-seam pockets, and cuff latches.

There’s quite a lot of pattern alteration going on – King shows you how to add princess seam lines, draft a yoke, a fly-front facing, a cuff latch, and an on-seam pocket.  He discusses the difference between a pattern, and its draft (no seam allowances).  He shows how to turn a pattern into a draft by subtracting the seam allowances, alter it, then turn it back into a pattern piece by adding the seam allowance back in. A full video session is devoted to the altering the pattern for the style changes King adds to the garment.

One thing I liked about this course was the coverage of the necessary equipment, and how to use it. I bought a pair of tailor-point scissors after watching this course, especially after hearing his detailed description of how they’re designed and intended to be used.

In terms of tailoring, King’s approach with this class is best described as “Classic Tailoring Lite”. The class project doesn’t involve tailoring skills such as catchstitching, taping, and padstitching, as would be used for a more structured garment. But King uses only sew-in, hair canvas interfacing for the project. He is a proponent of sew-in interfacing over fusible for most tasks because it has a much longer wear life and will lead to a much longer lasting garment.

Instead of padstitching in the undercollar, King uses some quilt-like lines of machine stitching to hold things in place.  A lot of the basic tailoring concepts are still covered, including:

  • Shaping fabric by stretching with the steam iron and use of the pressing ham
  • Constructing a collar and rolled lapel
  • Setting in sleeves
  • “Favoring” turned seams with the iron
  • The Hong Kong finish for seam binding in unlined garments
  • Installing an on-seam pocket including the pocket bag
  • Installing a lining. (The garment is partially lined).

King offers some great hints and tips in this class.  I was especially grateful for his tricks on how to get sharp turned points, and he has excellent instructions, with nifty tricks, for attaching a button by hand. His method of hand-attaching buttons is the one I now use for all my sewing work, and I might even give it a try for attaching shirt buttons in future projects.

Finally, King is a fantastic instructor.  He’s breezy but always to the point, he’s casual yet authoritative, he’s never dull to watch. He explains concepts clearly, and his demonstrations are easy to follow. I’ve watched another of his classes, Jeanius!, and found him to be a consistently good instructor.

In summary, The Carefree Fly-Front Coat is an excellent introductory tailoring class packed with lots of info. But it may not necessarily answer all the questions you might have for the specific project you’re planning.

Classic Tailoring: The Blazer with Steffani Lincecum

Steffani Lincecum_Craftsy

Classic Tailoring: The Blazer with Steffani Lincecum is a good overview of the “classic” tailoring style. It goes into more depth on some aspects of tailoring than does The Carefree Fly-Front Coat. Some of the classic techniques it covers are:

  • Working with hair canvas and wigan. No fusible interfacings are used in the class.
  • How to draft your own pattern pieces for internal muslin pieces to add structure the garment.
  • Hand stitches, for attaching interfacings and linings solely by hand.
  • Taping roll lines, for proper shaping of collars and lapels.
  • Sewing a bound buttonhole.
  • Setting sleeves, including sleeve assembly techniques that are more typically used in menswear.
  • Adding sleeve vents, with mitred corners.
  • Attaching collars and lapels.
  • Lining the jacket, including a hand feather-stitch to secure the center pleat.
  • Favoring, and “turn of the cloth”.

Patch pockets are the type of pockets demonstrated here. King’s class covers on-seam pockets, and Pam Howard’s class (below) shows you how to create welt pockets.

Pressing techniques are also covered well, though I think Kenneth King displays more fancy iron shaping techniques in his class.  And though Lincecum shows you how to attach buttons by hand, King’s technique is better.

I was impressed also by several good tips and tricks, for tricky items such as:

  • Sewing notched collars
  • Adjusting sleeves to accomodate padding
  • “Fitting” flared hems to eliminate excess fabric in the hem area
  • Clipping curved seams
  • Pinning techniques for favoring seams in patch pockets

What impressed me most about Steffani Lincecum as an instructor is that she makes everything look doable, even intricate, multi-step procedures such as sewing bound buttonholes.

As much as I did get from this class, there were some things which bothered me. Near the end, there was less sewing and more demonstration of completed samples. A pet peeve of mine is sewing videos where people don’t actually sew, and there was some of that going on here.

I felt that sleeve construction could have been described a bit better. I admit to having a bit of a mental block when it comes to sleeves, since I can’t picture how to do it even after watching all three classes. But this course in particular breezed over some of the steps, and presented some others as fait accompli – already done, instead of doing the work on camera.

I also would have liked to see the differences between mens and women’s sleeve construction in detail, since Lincecum mentioned in passing that the two of them were different and the method she presented is more typically found in menswear.

Occasionally, there is also some annoying camera work with a long-shot when you really want to be seeing the closeup of what the instructor is doing.

In summary, Classic Tailoring: The Blazer goes more in-depth than does The Carefree Fly-front Coat and will give you a good feel for what “real” tailoring is about, albeit with a few minor flaws in presentation.

Modern Jacket Techniques with Pam Howard

Pam Howard_Craftsy

I would purchase Modern Jacket Techniques sight unseen, because of Pam Howard as the instructor.  I watched through her earlier Craftsy course, The Custom Tailored Shirt, and found her style to to be calm, clear, and methodically step-by-step. You never get lost following Howard’s instruction, and she anticipates the mistakes newbies are likely to make and warns against those pitfalls.

By “Modern Techniques,” Howard aims to produce a garment like high-end ready-to-wear, rather than couture/custom tailored garments.  She shows you how to use fusible interfacings to structure the garment.

Some of the topics covered by the course include:

  • Fabric choices, including which fabrics work well with fusibles and which don’t
  • Interfacings
  • Grain lines, and marking
  • Welt pocket construction
  • Sleeve attachment
  • Mitred sleeve vents
  • Collars and lapels
  • Attaching Linings
  • Finishing techniques, including buttons, buttonholes, hems
  • Pattern modifications, including a back neck facing (as seen in high-end RTW)
  • Hand-stitching, including the catch stitch and the felling stitch (for the hem and sleeves).

Two types of interfacings are used in the class project. All-bias (stretch) interfacing, and a weft (heavier) interfacing (Armo weft).  The class notes indicate where each pattern piece is interfaced, and also what type of interfacing to use in a given place.  Howard points out special ways to use interfacing. In one case, she fuses two layers of the same interfacing for extra body.  For the undercollar, she applies one layer each of different interfacings, to mimic the effect of pad-stitching for shaping the rise of the undercollar.

In the course, most of the fusing and the basic seam construction is done off-camera.  It’s assumed you know that stuff, and are here for the tricker things. That said, I would have liked to hear more about how fusibles are used for shaping, and how they mimic the work of hair canvas and pad-stitching.  She does demonstrate the dark side of fusible interfacing – what bad fusibles, or fabrics that are not appropriate for use with fusibles, can do.  The bubbling you get from incompatible fabrics can irreparably ruin a project.

Like the other courses, this one is chock-full of tips and tricks. Some of her tips:

  • Use strips of brown paper to protect fabric from impressions when pressing seam allowances
  • Make your pocket flap first, then size your welt pocket to fit the flap
  • When setting in the sleeve, fold it inside out, and out over your fingers so that you arrange everything in a convex rather than concave way
  • Attach button holes top down, button each buttonhole before sewing the next, to ensure they are aligned and there are no crimps from misplaced buttons
  • Use a pinking shears around curves to emulate the effect of clipping with regular tailors point scissors

Again, as in Lincecum’s class, I found some minor issues in presentation. A few of the shots demonstrating certain types of work (attaching sleeves, collars/lapels, lining) left me a bit confused understanding what part of the garment was being shown while the technique was demonstrated. Backing up and rewatching the segment cleared up the mystery pretty quick, though.

Also as in Lincecum’s class, Howard started glossing over some techniques near the end, such as sewing the sleeve hem.  In most cases, she had shown the technique before.  She showed how to mark buttonholes but didn’t sew them, on or off camera – she demonstrated a sample instead. I wanted to see the finished result.

Compared with Lincecum’s Classic Tailoring course, Howard’s approach offers more streamlined techniques, and also less “couture” stuff. There are no instructions for a bound buttonhole, but you do put in a welt pocket with a flap.  Howard’s method for sleeve construction is a bit different from Lincecum’s, as is her method for sleeve hems. Howard puts the buttons on the sleeves before attaching the lining, so that button attachment stitching is fully contained within the lining.

Overall, Modern Jacket Techniques complements the other two courses well in showing another approach to tailoring that will appeal to many.

Pam Howard offers a companion course on Craftsy, Jacket Fitting Techniques, that I have purchased but not yet watched. I’ll post a review once I’ve completed it.

Which one to choose

I’m happy I purchased all three classes. Each one has a different perspective and focus, and so they complement each other nicely.  I got something unique and valuable from each one.  If there’s any downside, it’s reconciling the different approaches in my head.

If you’re considering a single class, here’s my thoughts on how to choose.

  • For an easy, non-threatening introduction to tailoring, you can’t go wrong with Kenneth D. King’s class.
  • To understand classic techniques like padstitching and taping, and how to work with non-fusibles, your best choice is Steffani Lincecum’s class.
  • If you aspire to produce tailored garments that are like high-end ready-to-wear, and have an aversion to lots of hand sewing, you’d benefit most by choosing Pam Howard’s class.

Black Friday Sale

If you’re read this far, you should be aware that Craftsy is currently holding a Black Friday sale, with all sewing classes, regardless of original price available for $19.99. You should never pay full price for a Craftsy class – always wait for a sale – but this sale is incredibly good even by their standards.

Update: The Black Friday sale for 2014 is now long over, but Craftsy does put their classes on sale from time to time. If you don’t have an account with Craftsy, sign up for one of their free mini-classes just so you start getting their emails.

More Craftsy Tailoring Classes

If you’re looking for even more tailoring instruction, here’s some more Craftsy classes on the topic.  I haven’t seen any of them.

  • Tailoring Ready-to-Wear with Angela Wolf
  • Tailoring Ready-to-Wear: Beyond the Basics with Angela Wolf
  • Tailoring Ready-to-Wear: The Jacket with Angela Wolf
  • Inside Vogue Patterns: Coatmaking Techniques V9040 with Steffani Lincecum
  • The Iconic Tweed Jacket with Lorna Knight

I’m probably unlikely to purchase any of the classes involving altering Ready-To-Wear, because I don’t have any RTW tailored garments to alter and likely never will.  The Inside Vogue Patterns class is also taught by Steffani Lincecum, but I don’t know how much overlap there is with her Classic Tailoring: The Blazer course.

What I really want

These courses were all valuable, but they all focus on women’s wear.  Though many of the principles are the same as for men, some of them are different.  After hearing Steffani Lincecum touch on the differences between men’s and women’s tailoring, I’d like to know more.

I’d love to see Craftsy offer a series of menswear tailoring courses.  One on trousers, one on vests, and one for jackets.


31 thoughts on “Three Tailoring Classes at Craftsy

  1. Corey

    Just a few comments,

    1. You don’t necessarily need to take a course. You can go to the public library and borrow some books on tailoring if you want to learn more details.
    2. There are also some ok books on tailoring available on amazon that you can purchase.
    3. The patterns themselves, ie the vogue pattern you are going to make, is not bad for construction techniques for making the coat. This is how I learnt to sew when I started by following the directions in the pattern. Over time, you find what works and what does not, or you also come across techniques that are better.
    4. For bespoke tailoring, join cutter and tailor, it is a forum for Saville Row Tailoring, which is what you might be after.
    5. I subscribe to:, he covers men’s clothing construction which is kind of what you are looking for and covers all basic garments.

    1. Stoting Stitch

      I agree that a course is not necessary, some people have a knack, but one certainly helps, and preferably an in-person course before a video class.

      There is, by the way, an excellent, but expensive set of bespoke tailoring classes offered by English master tailor Andrew Ramroop at

      Cutter and Tailor is a wonderful forum — I think it’s the best tailoring educational space on the Internet — but there is a strict rule that forbids newcomers to the forum from posting or asking questions about “coats” ( jackets), which are too complex for beginners. Forum members, unless they are professionals, must first post photos of successful trousers and shirts before getting help with jackets. Anyone who goes over there should read all the rules for new members.

      Cutter and Tailor is a forum for bespoke tailoring, but the tailors come from many countries and national tailoring traditions, not just Savile Row.

    2. mportuesisf Post author


      I do have a few books on tailoring on my bookshelf at home. The videos complement the books very well. The books provide in-depth information, but the videos clearly convey how to perform the techniques.

      I’m usually nervous about the instructions in home patterns, because they quite often simplify the techniques simply to enable the sewist to get a usable result, rather than the best result. I see that with all the men’s shirt patterns I’ve come across; they incorporate a lot of shortcuts in the name of simplifying construction. I have to imagine something like this is happening with a pattern for a tailored garment.

      I have been looking at Cutter and Tailor the past few days. I have a very mixed reaction. This might be a topic for a blog article. I have never heard of, thanks for the tip.

      1. Corey

        The website is actually, there are options for membership and its reasonable. I paid 90 bucks for the year. He has very details videos, worksheets, and the focus is MENSWEAR, not women’s wear. Thank God!

        The books mentioned above are all good books. I use David Page Coffin’s books on shirts and trousers, they cover the details very well for great tailored trousers, and he covers, cheap, high end rtw and custom pants.

        Again the message is what are you trying to achieve in your garments,
        1. if bespoke tailoring is your things then go for it

        2. personally i like to go for “high end rtw” which is a combination of techniques by hand and machine. I personally prefer doing everything by machine. My biggest issues with home sewing machines is “shitty buttonholes” that don’t look like ready to wear. The only way i will get great buttonholes is to invest in an industrial buttonholer.

        1. mportuesisf Post author

          Right now, I’m so new to tailoring that I’m not sure what I’m aiming for. My short-term goal is to produce a coat that I’ll be happy with for years to come. I suspect high-end RTW may be a good goal to shoot for.

          I have both of David Coffin’s books, and they’re both wonderful and have been very helpful to me. I don’t currently use every one of his suggestions for shirtmaking, but I plan to experiment with some of them in future projects. His detailed method for making real sleeve plackets is awesome.

          1. Stoting Stitch

            High-end RTW is certainly an impressive goal for people like us who sew for ourselves, but it takes so long you may think that it’s better to use the best techniques. But you probably finish many more projects than I do, so I should shut up.

            It’s expensive, but I’m told that the Michael Maldonado shirtmaking course is excellent. He has a free video on sewing a two-piece sleeve placket that was very clear:

            Unlike Craftsy, you download the Maldonado videos. A teacher with a professional background whom I know wasn’t that impressed by David Page Coffin’s book. I’m not in a position to judge, but I thought it had good sections, for example, the basic sewing section, is detailed and helpful.

        2. Stoting Stitch

          “My biggest issues with home sewing machines is “shitty buttonholes” that don’t look like ready to wear. The only way i will get great buttonholes is to invest in an industrial buttonholer.”

          If you live near New York City, you can have the buttonholes done professionally at Jonathan Embroidery in Manhattan. I know someone who mailed his shirts to them and he was reasonably happy. I’ve used a Reece buttonhole machine a couple of times as an exercise. They are scary. It didn’t happen to me, but they can end up eating fabric. The machine I used didn’t have the knife in it both for safety and so that the stitches could be removed in case of a mistake. The knife has to be used for a jacket or coat and if you make the wrong cut, the garment is ruined.

          It’s ambitious, but you could try to learn to make buttonholes by hand. I assume that men’s jackets never use bound buttonholes, which is easier; if you can make a welt pocket you can make a bound buttonhole.

        3. Stoting Stitch

          Now that I see that you (Corey) have access to Jonathan Embroidery, you definitely should try them. You can bring your own thread or use theirs, they have a wide selection. Bring some sample fabric so they can do a test buttonhole. Most FIT students go to Jonathan and in the classes they show you how to mark the buttonholes.

          Jonathan Embroidery Plus
          256 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018
          (212) 398-3538

          Another place to check out is Quick Fusing. You can get fabric block fused. I don’t like the look, but took a sewing class in which we made a jacket with cheaper methods and were sent there.

          Quick Fusing
          260 W 36th St #1, New York, NY 10018
          (212) 967-0311

        1. Corey

          I use cutter and tailor to look for specific information wrt sewing/tailoring. For me its okay. If I ever get enough money together, I will just apply to go to FIT in nyc. As a ny state resident, i get cheaper tuition. That will come in time.

          I learned most of my sewing by doing on a kenmore sewing machine from the late 70’s early 80’s. I started sewing at 12 yrs old on my grandmothers white st8 stitch sewing machine, yes it went in reverse. My brother took my kenmore and lost it during one of his moves. He never used it. I largely sew on vintage sewing machines, but will go JUKI at some point, home and industrial. Lately i have been purchasing vintage kenmore machines in hopes to find a replacement for the sewing machine i used for 20 years.

          My goal for sewing is: start my business, offering custom “couture” and knocking off runway clothing at a 1/3 to 1/2 the price point, and build a client base. I have really worked on my construction skills, and now i have focused on “master tailoring” I have to move into draping, pattern making and also improve my skills in pattern grading. Is funny most people thing sewing can be difficult, but i always say: The sewing is the easy part, its getting a pattern, and the fit right that are far more difficult then sewing a straight line.

          1. Stoting Stitch

            I’ve taken women’s and men’s tailoring classes at FIT and have some friends in the Menswear program. Some people in the program started by taking an evening class called Menswear Sewing, which is required before one can take the tailoring classes that are open to everyone. I don’t think it counts toward the full-time program, but it’s an excellent introduction to sewing a complex shirt on an industrial machine. If you do it, try to take it with Mark-Evan Blackman. He’s probably the best teacher I’ve had at FIT. Here’s a link describing the class, which never ceases to crack me up:

            The full-time Menswear program classes seem to be a combination of high-end RTW and bespoke, while the tailoring electives are pure bespoke construction.

            The Menswear program is a fashion design program and sometimes I think that the bespoke tailors on Cutter and Tailor don’t understand what the students do. It’s a very different approach, designing for a mass market, which is what most of the classes prepare students to do and what they want to do. I would make sure that FIT offers the business classes you need, unless you can get that knowledge elsewhere. There are fashion business-oriented classes offered by different departments.

            I love Juki industrials. I learned to sew on them at FIT and hope to have one some day. In addition to the reliable stitch, the presser feet are so much cheaper and varied than those available for a home machine.

            Fitting is a tremendous challenge, especially since I’m learning to fit my body, which is not shaped like a Wolf dress form. But for me there’s plenty of sewing and tailoring skills beyond stitching a straight line that I’m still working on.

          2. mportuesisf Post author

            “i always say: The sewing is the easy part, its getting a pattern, and the fit right that are far more difficult then sewing a straight line.”

            I was going to write a post for my blog saying exactly this. Mastering construction skills is much easier than mastering fit, or style.

          3. Stoting Stitch


            Construction is easier than fitting, which is why most traditionally trained tailors learn first to “make up” clothing before they proceed to drafting. But even construction involves a lot of experience and finesse. There’s much more to it than simply sewing a straight line.

          4. mportuesisf Post author

            Stoting Stitch:

            Oh, yes I understand! I didn’t mean to trivialize the challenges involved in clothing construction. My latest round of shirts have been the best I’ve ever constructed, and though I get compliments from people who hear they are self-made, I know they do not meet the standards of professionally made garments. Tailored garments are a level of construction challenge above that. I get it. But the challenge is a big part of what makes this hobby interesting to me.

          5. Stoting Stitch


            Thanks re the construction remarks.. I’m learning to sew for myself, too, and I while I’ve improved I can’t get over how hard it is to get a really professional-looking finish. For example, whenever I’ve taken a class and had to present my garment at the end I’ve always tried to go to a dry cleaners for a final press because I can’t press as well as they do — I don’t know if it’s their experience or equipment, probably both. I love sewing and tailoring, but so much equipment is needed even if one does a lot of handwork.

  2. Stoting Stitch

    Thanks for the reviews. I’d like to see a Craftsy class on women’s vests and waistcoats.

    A tailoring standard, Roberto Cabrera’s Classic Tailoring Techniques for Menswear: A Construction Guide, is due out in a new edition next Spring. Other good books include Vintage Couture Tailoring by Thomas von Nordheim, Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket, and Tailoring Techniques for Fashion.

    1. mportuesisf Post author

      I have the Cabrera book, as well as “Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket”. I haven’t dug into the Cabrera book yet, but I’m finding “Tailoring: The Classic Guide” very useful and helpful. The video courses made understanding the book way easier.

      I also sprang for the complete collection of tailoring books by Stanley Hostek. I’m sure they’ll be valuable at some point, but right now they are next to incomprehensible to me.

      1. Stoting Stitch

        I’ve taken tailoring classes, which makes books so much easier to understand.

        I have the first Hostek book on hand stitches. I may get the rest of the series when I can make use of it. They aren’t as accessible to me either, and they’re so expensive for pamphlets. :-) But as you probably know, the tailors on Cutter and Tailor think the world of it.

        Incidentally Jeffery Diduch at the Made by Hand (Tutto Fatto a Mano) blog has requested a review copy of the new edition of the Cabrera book. It should be worth reading.

  3. Corey

    My current project is: pattern draft for men’s selfedged jeans. I have the draft done. I used a few books to help:
    1. metric pattern cutting for menswear
    2. pattern making for fashion design
    I have to make the muslin but will do that with cheap denim, i like having something that is wearable and not just a muslin mock up. I also have giant rolls of polar fleece waiting to become outerwear/sportswear. I have dogs to walk so I like having these to bundle up in the winter.

    some of my other books i have:
    1. professional sewing techniques for fashion designers
    2. couture sewing techniques by claire shaeffer
    I also need to start editing my sewing machine inventory, I have too many sewing machines, my goto machines are: singer 201, singer 15-91’s and a 15-90, kenmore 1803 which i love but i hate the left of center needle position. i have also upgraded all the motors on the machines to 1.5amp so they have great punching power and speed. The 15-90/91’s are great for leather, jeans and bags etc.

    Back to your coat, high end rtw is the main focus of my sewing. I alway target to have it look like it was store bought and not home made. i use see these girls in highschool who sewed and their clothes were bad and looked home made. The way i also learnt was to just study rtw clothing, the construction.

    I am also going to investigate islander sewing systems, i like janet prey’s approach to sewing. Industrial sewing techniques.

    1. mportuesisf Post author


      I have both of Janet Pray’s courses on Craftsy. They’re highly recommended, and I found the cost more acceptable than the DVDs sold by Islander Sewing Systems. I wrote a review of the first class for PR, which I should reproduce here on the blog.

      I have some selvedge denim in my fabric stash, for a selvedge jeans project I’d love to do. I am planning on modifying a commerical pattern, altering the outer and inseams, rather than drafting from scratch. I am also planning to use cheap denim for the muslin.

      Also, Jeffrey Diduch has an excellent article in an old issue of Threads magazine on how to sew without pins, one of the basic things Janet Pray teaches in her classes. As with Janet Pray, his advice is taken directly from his industry experience. Look for it in the February/March 2000 issue, pg. 32.

      1. Corey

        If you don’t want to modify a pattern, there is a japanese pattern book called: Men’s Pant Catalogue, it has a pattern ready to go so that will save you the time and headache of modifying a commerical pattern. What makes modifying the pattern difficult is the seat/butt, the curve will be different and will look more like a st8 line on an angle.

        oh btw, most of the books you can also download them from kickass torrents, that is where i get most of my books and also they have all threads magazines from 1995-2013.

        I perfer sewing to doing IT work which is what i normally do for a living, working on large ERP projects with consulting firms that hire everyone from mumbai, totally hate it anymore. Sewing gives me a creative outlet from all that nonsense. and i hope to make a transition out of IT work in the future.

        1. Stoting Stitch

          “If you don’t want to modify a pattern, there is a japanese pattern book called: Men’s Pant Catalogue, it has a pattern ready to go so that will save you the time and headache of modifying a commerical pattern. ”

          I don’t understand. No pattern, Japanese or Western, is going to fit anyone without adjustments unless he is shaped exactly like the fit model. One benefit of Japanese pattern book patterns is that they usually don’t include the seam allowance, so unlike with most Western patterns, one doesn’t have to first measure in to locate the sewing line and then add wider seam allowances for fitting.

  4. Corey

    Personally, from what i reading and understanding

    you need to apprentice with someone
    your in sfo .. there are alot of a tailors there
    outside of that i would go to hong kong ..
    they will teach you how to do everything …
    which for me .. i need to go back again

    1. Stoting Stitch

      An apprenticeship is a great idea, but I think they’re hard to find. It’s an expensive proposition for a tailor to teach a student because the student requires a lot of attention.

    2. mportuesisf Post author


      Like you, I work in the IT industry and I do all of my sewing work as a hobby. Without going too much into my personal background, retirement from the industry is an option for me. But even if I were to take that step, I very much doubt that any professional tailor would take me on as an apprentice at my age (late 40s).

      1. Corey

        Well I started doing IT work when i was 17, I started sewing when I was in public school.

        My skills wrt sewing, tailoring garment construction, creating patterns, grading, fabric selection, etc are pretty advanced. Again I had no formal training, I just learned by doing and studying rtw garments and I knew what I was looking for in my sewing. Weekends off from working in IT I would focus on completing an outfit to wear to work including the fitting, hand sewing and all the detailed work. When I got my first serger in the early 90’s i was finally able to create my clothing just like industry rtw. I was happy and pleased.

        Today, and most of my sewing is .. alterations. I have to fix clothing over and over and over again, I have also done my share of home dec projects from curtains to slip covers and everything where fabric is on anything in the home.

        My point is, you are never too old and it is never to late to do something you love and enjoy. IT work ..hate it, with a passion, so for me, its important that I leave the industry behind. Not that I am saying that sewing will be my future, but at least there is an options and something to explore.

        I think you need more sewing experience under your belt and the more you make and do, the more that you will … irrespective .. of taking a course, class or reading a book, get the experience and learn the techniques you are looking for from tailoring and it being an art form.

        1. Stoting Stitch

          “[Y]ou are never too old and it is never to late to do something you love and enjoy. IT work ..hate it, with a passion, so for me, its important that I leave the industry behind. Not that I am saying that sewing will be my future, but at least there is an options and something to explore.”

          It may never be too late, but older people who want to “reinvent” themselves often have to proceed on a different path, in this case, one that involves creating their own company with either their own funds or funds from investors. This is a fairly common dream. Fashion is very competitive and ageist. There are talented 22-year-olds with design degrees (and professional training does matter) who are unemployed or poorly paid. To be a designer or assistant designer is a very stressful management job, one which often involves directing work that is performed abroad.

      2. Stoting Stitch

        “I very much doubt that any professional tailor would take me on as an apprentice at my age (late 40s).”

        I saw a job notice for apprentices on a Savile Row blog (I’m 99% it was Anderson & Sheppard); it specifically asked for young people. In addition to plain old ageism, and concern about an older person having fewer productive years, many places want to shape young people, they consider them more pliable.

    1. mportuesisf Post author

      I have the Claire Sheaffer book and DVD, so I’ll skip that class – it wasn’t really on my radar to begin with. Thanks for the note!

      1. Stoting Stitch

        You’re welcome. :-) I also recently saw an interesting set of construction instructions on the Emma One Sock website. It explained how to make a more structured Chanel-style jacket.


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